Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70 review£5,000.00

Fun trail machine that offers incremental geometry adjustment for fettling fans

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Altitude is probably the most UK-relevant bike in Rocky Mountain’s line-up. With 150mm of travel out back and 160mm at the front, it’s meant to be a do-it-all, do-it-anywhere sort of bike, prime for singletrack shredding and big-mountain adventures.

A full-carbon frame helps keep weight to a competitive 12.6kg (large). It’s constructed using rigid internal moulds and specific carbon/resin mixes and lay-ups for each tube. The four-bar linkage layout gives Rocky Mountain plenty of control over the suspension curve, and the Fox shock gets a different tune on each frame size (lighter tunes for smaller riders).

One particularly interesting frame feature is the ‘RIDE-9’ geometry adjustment system. Nine different settings can be accessed via two interlocking chips on the swing link, from ‘Slack’ (65-degree head angle) to ‘Steep’ (66.1 degrees).

Changing between them is a simple case of removing a bolt and flipping the chips. Other key geometry numbers (on the large size, in the ‘Slack’ setting) include a reach of 452mm, a bottom bracket drop of 13mm, short 426mm chainstays, a 74-degree seat angle and a pretty average 1,206mm wheelbase.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70 kit

Fox take care of damping duties with a ‘Performance Elite’ spec 36 Float fork with FIT4 damper up front and a matching DPS EVOL rear shock. There’s no slippery Kashima coating, but everything else you’d want from Fox is there.

The drivetrain is based around Shimano’s 11-speed XT group, with Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks. Shimano bring it all to a halt too, with XT stoppers.

The bike comes with one of our favourite droppers, the Fox Transfer, and Race Face and Rocky Mountain take care of the finishing kit. Wide Stan’s Flow rims (29mm internal) are wrapped in high-volume Maxxis Minion tyres in the new ‘Wide Trail’ format to provide a spot-on wheelset.

We’d have liked more mid-stroke support from the Fox DPS EVOL shock
We’d have liked more mid-stroke support from the Fox DPS EVOL shock

Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70 ride impression

With a low bottom bracket, slack-ish head angle and stacks of suspension travel, it would be hard for the Altitude to lack attitude when the trail descends. The ‘Performance Elite’ suspension front and back is controlled and tunable, only missing out on the top five per cent of potential performance because it lacks the gold-standard Kashima coating.

Because the wide rims allow lower pressures, the chunky tyres are able to conform effortlessly to the ground beneath them, letting you push hard into corners and brake late when things get lairy.

Under braking there’s a little bit of skitter from the back end – you’ll either love or hate this, but you certainly aren’t left feeling isolated from what’s happening under the tyres.

On bigger compressions and hits we’d have liked a touch more support from the shock’s mid stroke, because we found the bike was prone to dipping towards the end of its travel prematurely.

The chunky tyres on wide rims conform effortlessly to the ground, letting you push hard into corners and brake late when things get lairy
The chunky tyres on wide rims conform effortlessly to the ground, letting you push hard into corners and brake late when things get lairy

Geometry wise, the Altitude is far from radical – the reach is almost short for a modern enduro bike, and that’s certainly the case out back. This helps the bike feel nippy and agile, and ready to turn on a dime.

But it does mean it loses out on some of the high-speed stability that we’ve come to love from the longer crop of current enduro bikes. The Rocky Mountain claws back some of that confidence in the corners with its low bottom bracket though.

While geometry fiends will like the easy adjustment of the frame’s shape, we’d argue that there are too many options – just give us slack and steep settings, especially when the two extremes aren’t that far removed.

Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 70 specifications

  • Frame: ‘Smoothwall’ carbon fibre, 150mm (5.9in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 36 Float EVOL FIT4 Performance Elite, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT with Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks (1x11)
  • Rims: Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3
  • Hubs: Rocky Mountain Boost (f) and DT Swiss 370 Boost (r)
  • Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF WT 3C 27.5x2.5in (f) and Minion DHR II WT 3C 27.5x2.4in
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT, 180mm rotors
  • Handlebar: Race Face Turbine, 780mm
  • Stem: Rocky Mountain 35 AM, 35mm
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer dropper
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Race
  • Weight: 12.6kg (27.8lb), large size without pedals

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 182cm / 5'11"
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 81cm / 32in
  • Chest: 97cm / 38in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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